Beekeeper’s Diary

Colour Coding for Queens

There is a defined colour coding for marking queens to show the year of their birth over a five years period – see below. The numbers in the column denote the last digit in the year i.e. ‘1’ denotes 2021 etc.

White 1 6 Will Which
Yellow 2 7 You Year
Red 3 8 Raise Reared in
Green 4 9 Good Great
Blue 5 0 Bees Britain


  • Oxalic/lactic acid treatment for Varroa
  • Heft to check stores


  • ‘Heft’ to check stores – emergency feeding?
  • Check hive entrances – clear/predator damage
  • Prepare new frames of foundation


  • ‘Heft’ to check stores – emergency feeding?
  • Check, repair / replace brood boxes/floors/queen excluders and general cleaning up.
  • Hive records – get the new sheets/book all ready
  • First inspection (only if warm and not too windy)
  • Queen clipping and marking? (only if warm enough)


  • Regular hive inspections – check for queen, space, stores, swarming, varroa and disease
  • If varroa treatment required, complete before adding Supers
  • Move old and empty Brood frames to edges for replacement
  • Ensure enough space for rapid Brood nest expansion
  • Replace old Brood frames – Bailey comb change etc
  • Ensure equipment for artificial swarming ready
  • Oil Seed Rape flow – add? Super in plenty of time


  • Weekly inspections – look closely for queen cells
  • Supering – add another when bees are on 75% of frames
  • Remove and extract rape honey as soon as ripe
  • Monitor Varroa


  • Check for sufficient Stores for bees to make it through the June Gap
  • Weekly inspections – look closely for queen cells, varroa and disease


  • Main honey flow – check regularly for sufficient space in Supers
  • Extracting your beautiful honey crop at end of month!
  • Order preferred treatment for varroa


  • Reduce entrances 2 to 3 bee spaces to reduce wasp attacks
  • Varroa treatment from end of first week
  • Clean supers for storage
  • Unite small colonies


  • Remove varroa treatments
  • Swap positions of Super and Brood boxes – if preferred?
  • Estimate stores and feed syrup for winter


  • Check enough stores for winter
  • Fit mouse guards and woodpecker nets
  • Monitor varroa drop
  • Sort and clean spare equipment for storage


  • Check entrances are clear
  • Sterilise and mend stored equipment
  • Order oxalic acid


  • ‘Heft’ hive to estimate whether sufficient Stores
  • Check hive entrances – clear/predator damage
  • Put your feet up and enjoy Christmas!

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